STEM Through Authentic Research Training (START) Program for Underrepresented Communities

Grants and Contracts Details


Underrepresented populations (e.g., people of color, people with disabilities, people from less affluent communities, first generation students) in STEM fields are a rich and essential resource for increasing the quality of education, scientific research, and biomedical innovation for the challenges of tomorrow. While there have been incredible advances in science and technology and an increasing presence of STEM in daily life, STEM instruction has changed little in most schools. And where innovations have been introduced, the beneficiaries have typically been students from more affluent communities, leaving behind the bulk of the student population, especially underrepresented populations. This results in an absence of peer and near-peer role models, lack of opportunity to engage in high-quality, authentic research experiences, and isolation from college and STEM careers for underrepresented populations. To overcome these limitations, numerous programs have been designed in P-16 education to spark interest in and increase the dissemination of STEM disciplines, methods, and critical thinking techniques to these students. While these programs are independently successful at moving underrepresented STEM students through a program in their particular age group/school/university, they become limited in the quality and number of students entering and retained in the pipeline. Thus to bridge this gap, strategies that foster the academic, social, and professional integration of underrepresented students throughout the pipeline are needed. To address this need, we have formed the STEM Through Authentic Research and Training (START) Program with the goal of recruiting and retaining underrepresented populations in STEM by providing year-round authentic research opportunities and professional development activities for high school students (grades 9-12) and middle and secondary STEM teachers (grades 5-12). Authentic research experiences will provide students real-world applications to use their P-12 education, while developing additional skills (e.g., academic and social integration, professionalism) that will be useful for future STEM undergraduate studies and careers. Students and teachers will also be integrated in university support systems, for additional career/professional development, tailored for STEM underrepresented populations. The START program is ideally positioned to take advantage of and expand upon existing University of Kentucky supports, collaborations, and in-place administrative agreements with partners.
Effective start/end date7/1/196/30/24


  • National Institute of General Medical Sciences: $1,317,111.00


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